Regarding trampoline safety for young children, the general medical recommendation is that children under six should not use a trampoline.
A trampoline can be a fun and engaging way for children to exercise, but safety concerns parents of young kids.
Not every parent of a young child will avoid using a trampoline, especially if it is recommended for developmental purposes.
Fortunately, there are trampolines explicitly built for toddlers as young as two years old.
The key to keeping a toddler safe on the trampoline is supervision.
A best practice for trampoline safety is to always have a parent or guardian supervise young children while using it.
If supervision is not possible, it’s recommended to keep the child off the trampoline.
Supervising toddlers can lead to distractions, especially when there’s a trampoline involved. Unfortunately, unexpected bounces, slipping off the sides, or landing incorrectly can occur rapidly.
We will discuss the safety concerns associated with young children using trampolines, particularly those under six years old.
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Trampoline Safety for Young Children: Early Development Issues
Before allowing young children to bounce on a trampoline, it’s essential to recognize that they are still developing and may not have the necessary balance and musculature.
Usually, trampolines designed explicitly for toddlers come with a balance bar for support.
While some toddlers may take to a small trampoline without much assistance, many will require gradual exposure and training.
To help young children become comfortable with a toddler trampoline, start with a smaller trampoline and gradually increase the size as they grow.
When young children use trampolines, it’s important to understand the risks associated with developing motor skills.
Young toddlers are still learning to balance in various environments while walking up stairs, running, climbing, and jumping.
Trampolines are thought of as fun equipment. Oftentimes, trampolines are used at parties or other events attracting excitement.
Trampoline safety for young children is often overlooked, and the potential dangers associated with trampolines are not always considered.
Trampolines are often elevated several feet off the ground, making it easy for toddlers to fall off and injure themselves accidentally. This is essential for trampoline safety for young children.
Even with some trampolines in a pit, they still pose risks of a child falling between the springs with their legs or entire body.
Children may benefit from trampolines for exercise and development, but safety risks must be considered.
Growth Plate Injuries in Toddlers
Trampoline safety for young children is most important in reducing growth plate injuries. Growth plate injuries affect toddlers and can be severe!
The growth plates found at the end of long bones in children and adolescents allow them to grow taller as they age.
Repeated stress or trauma from jumping can injure a toddler’s growth plate on a trampoline.
This can happen even if your child uses the trampoline only once a week for several months.
The growth plates in toddlers and young children don’t have as much cartilage protecting their ends as we adults do with our joints.
Instead, the only soft tissue doesn’t provide as much cushioning when they land hard after bouncing off something high up, such as springs under tension in a trampoline.
Some consequences of growth plate injuries in toddlers are painful swelling, joint stiffness, and pain.
These injuries can last for weeks or months.
A growth plate damaged by a fracture may not be visible on an x-ray. However, the injury still requires healing time before it will regain normal function.
Injuries to toddlers’ growth plates may cause bone deformities like bowlegs or unequal leg length.
Growth plate injuries can occur in various areas of a toddler’s body, such as the knee, ankle, and foot.
The most common injury in the lower leg is a growth plate fracture in the tibia, which can be challenging to diagnose as it may not always be visible on an X-ray or MRI scan.
It is important to consult with a pediatrician if a young child experiences pain, discomfort, or swelling near their growth plates.
Young Children Can Use Toddler Trampolines
You can’t completely take away risk without completely taking away the trampoline.
If you want your toddler to experience a trampoline, it’s best to use one designed for toddlers, whether for exercise or behavioral intervention.
Trampolines designed for toddlers, such as the Galt Nursery Trampoline, the Toddler Trampoline for Ages 1+, and the Little Tikes Trampoline, are smaller and have a lower weight capacity limit.
Some of the Galt Nursery trampolines for toddlers have a netting forming an enclosure higher than most toddler-sized models.
The net will help prevent falls in case your child loses their balance or gets too close to the edges while jumping.
The Galt also comes with soft foam edges around all four sides of its frame.
This creates a safer landing spot for fall toddlers by reducing the risk of hitting hard metal bars found on larger frames.
Toddler-specific trampolines claim to help children ages one and above to develop muscle, balance, confidence, and coordination skills.
For children aged 3-6, The Little Tikes trampoline is a great choice, but it is not recommended for those under three.
Little Tikes’ enclosure netting is high enough to prevent falls.
Little Tikes trampoline, like the Galt, also comes with soft foam edges around all four sides of its frame.
When looking for a safe trampoline for young children, consider toddler trampoline products before moving to a larger one.
What Do The Experts Recommend?
The American Academy for Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under age six avoid trampolines altogether.
Children under six are at risk from these injuries:
- Growth plate injuries
- Falls off the trampoline (potentially causing head or body injuries)
- Jumping onto other children
- Hitting the springs and frame.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under six should not use trampolines.
Children over six should only use trampolines when supervised by an adult at all times and with a safety net to prevent falls.
Children should take turns jumping on the trampoline to prevent injury from colliding with each other.
Tips for Trampoline Safety for Young Children
If you purchase the toddler trampoline, please use these general safety tips for keeping your child safe.
Ensure you supervise your child closely while they play on the trampoline.
- Place a safety net around the trampoline to prevent falls.
- Add foam padding around the springs & hard edges to prevent potential injuries
The best practice for trampoline safety for young children is to inspect your toddler’s trampoline before each use.
Inspecting the trampoline will help avoid accidents due to parts damaged by wear and tear.
Parts on a trampoline you’ll want to check for safety include;
- Check springs for sharp edges, rusting, and appropriate attachment to the frame.
- Check the center/fabric portion for tears or worn spots.
- Check the frame for sharp edges, rust, bending, and sturdiness.
Ensure there are no signs of broken parts, such as the hooks for attaching to a safety net, which could cause injury if not attached properly.
Ensure that the hooks on your mat are securely fastened to prevent them from detaching during use.
Additionally, verify sufficient padding underneath the trampoline to mitigate the risk of injury in the event of falls.
If anything is found damaged during inspection, wait until it is repaired by an expert before continuing use.
The location of your trampoline is another key to trampoline safety.
If you are buying a trampoline for a toddler, it is important to ensure that it is placed in a safe location, even if you’ll be using it indoors.
It is not safe to place a trampoline in the backyard where a toddler can fall onto trees or other objects.
If you’re using an indoor trampoline, make sure there’s ample space around it and nothing is above it, like a light or fan.
Ensure that there is no furniture nearby that could be toppled onto when jumping.
Single Use Only
For young children’s safety, only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
When toddlers jump on a trampoline together it increases the risk of injuries such as head injuries, broken bones, and sprains from them potentially bouncing or jumping into one another.
When your toddler uses a trampoline solo, you won’t have as many risks to worry about. The main risk that remains is that they might fall off the trampoline and hurt themselves if it’s not set up correctly!
The general medical consensus recommends that children under six should not use trampolines.
If you plan to use a trampoline for therapy with your young child, ensure it is designed specifically for toddlers.
By taking a few safety precautions and investing in appropriate equipment, your toddler can safely enjoy the benefits of using a trampoline.
Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!